ARN

Govt opens up e-trade options

Australian businesses will be given a level e-commerce playing field to compete on for government contracts and business-to-business trade, according to a new framework announced by the Australian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC).

With input from all levels of government, the APCC's Framework for the National Cooperation on Electronic Commerce in Government Procurement is considering the most efficient methods for businesses to trade with government agencies and each other.

"This significant national initiative, a world first, will support businesses, large and small, as they trade directly with governments and with each other, in a consistent, secure and low-cost electronic environment," said Mike Board, chair of the Australian Procurement and Construction Ministerial Council.

Adopting common international e-commerce standards, the framework is slated to assist businesses develop an Internet presence when trading with the government while streamlining transactions across states and territories.

Noting a growing role for SMEs in government contracting, Board claims the framework will provide opportunities for SMEs to trade with the government on a comparable basis.

"Importantly, the implementation of the national framework will provide local and regional small-to-medium enterprises with the ability to compete more effectively for government business and in new markets," said Board.

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has endorsed the initiative.

"We are endorsing the APCC framework on electronic commerce as it is an important step for the industry," said Peter Upton, AIIA executive director. However, he claimed that while this framework is a "great start", there is much more to be done.